School Dismissed Early

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, February 28, 1913:  We got out of school real early this afternoon, so I visited the Primary awhile.

Recent photo of abandoned building that once housed McEwensville High School.

Recent photo of  building that once housed the McEwensville Schools.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

This diary entry reminds me of how different the school Grandma attended was from  schools today.

The McEwensville School building housed both a primary school (grades 1-8) on the first floor and a high school on the second floor. There were just two teachers in the building—a primary teacher and a high school teacher. Both teachers would have taught multiple grades and subjects.

Since Grandma was writing in the diary for herself (and not for readers a hundred years later) she skipped many of the details. Here’s my interpretation of this entry—

Although Grandma got out of school early, she probably needed to stay until the primary students were dismissed.  Her 7-year-old brother Jimmie was in second grade.  Even though she almost never mentioned walking to and from school with her little brother in the diary—they probably walked together every day.

10 Responses

  1. Do you think she helped out the primary teacher with the students? I am sure that the help would have been welcome.

  2. You’re awesome at filling in the details, it makes perfect sense. Did they grow up to be pals as adults?

    • I don’t think of them as being exactly pals as adults–but that’s probably due to their gender and age differences, They lived about 10 miles apart as adults, and visited each other from time to time.

  3. I also wondered if she helped out the primary teacher. Wonder why the high school classes got out so early….??? So many questions…

  4. Oh, of course. I keep forgetting about little Jimmie. Thanks for the explanation/ interpretation Sheryl.

  5. Imagine having that many students as the only teacher in the room. I’m sure those children were much better behaved than students today!

  6. Maybe your Grandma had the idea to become a primary teacher? She makes visiting the primary sound like something pleasant to do.

    • Her sister Ruth was a primary teacher at a nearby country one-room school house, so it makes sense that she may have also wanted to become a teacher.

  7. Would’ve been safest to walk together, but that one entry where she got a ride from a total stranger makes me wonder if they even thought of that stuff.

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